The Lingering by SJI Holliday #BlogTour #BookReview

The Lingering

Welcome to my blog stop on the book tour for The Lingering by SJI Holliday. My thanks to the author and to Anne Cater and publisher Orenda Books for the opportunity to be part of the tour. I can’t wait to tell you more so let’s go!

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Married couple Jack and Ali Gardiner move to a self-sufficient commune in the English Fens, desperate for fresh start. The local village is known for the witches who once resided there and Rosalind House, where the commune has been established, is a former psychiatric home, with a disturbing history.

When Jack and Ali arrive, a chain of unexpected and unexplained events is set off, and it becomes clear that they are not all that they seem. As the residents become twitchy, and the villagers suspicious, events from the past come back to haunt them, and someone is seeking retribution…

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The Lingering is a ghost story but also a story about manipulation and control. I usually stay far from novels that even just hint at something paranormal, ghost stories are simply too unbelievable for me but there are exceptions for everything and this novel is definitely one I’m happy to have made. This is one novel that hooks you right away and impossible to put down. I was completely engrossed from the beginning thanks to Holliday’s amazingly suggestive writing. I never quite knew what was going on exactly.. she introduces a ghost – or two, three – into the story, unless they are hallucinations of course, who’s to say ;-)? It was a thrill to find out is all I can say.

The story was oh so creepy and unnerving! Should this story ever be made into a movie then I’m not sure I’ll watch it because it’s the kind of movie I’m usually too afraid to watch. Holliday brings so many terrific gothic/horror-elements together in this novel that you really can’t escape that ominous feeling of foreboding. Something is amiss and you don’t know what it is and where it will lead but it made me very nervous.

Rosalind House is an old building – a former asylum – and if the walls could speak they’d undoubtedly have many disturbing stories to tell. Some of what happened in the 1950s is told by reports that a doctor made in the past, when he was sent to evaluate how patients were treated and what methods were used. Even further in the past the village had witches to deal with as well, so as for setting, it counts as unbelievably atmospheric.

Add to this a community with their own rulebook, quite reminiscent of a sort of cult, and residents you don’t know anything about and you have the perfect ingredients for this scary story. To top it all off, one of the residents, Angela, strongly believes in ghosts and spirits and she’s determined to prove it. Two newcomers Ali and Jack also join the commune and Angela jumps at the chance to make friends but Ali is closing herself off from contact. There’s definitely something going on with Ali and Jack as well and the reasons for leaving everything behind in such a hurry is shrouded in a big mystery and take their time to unfold.

The story builds up tension and Ali, a firm non-believer, experiences some unsettling and strange events that left me doubtful. Is someone playing tricks, is she mental or are there really spirits from the past trying to make contact? It’s definitely one of the former but Holliday kept me in the dark until my nerves were frayed and my nails almost bitten to the quick. The only regret I have is that I would have liked perhaps more insight and backstory into some of the other characters too, like Rose. It’s just a small niggle though, because I couldn’t get enough and they all intrigued me.

The Lingering is one helluva page-turner that you better not read in the late hours of the night if you still want to have some sleep. If you enjoy scary reads then I can very recommend this one!

I received a free ecopy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.

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The Dark Place by Stephanie Rogers #BlogTour #Review

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My thanks to the wonderful Tracy Fenton and publisher Manatee Books for my copy of The Dark Place by Stephanie Rogers and for inviting me to be part of the blog tour!

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When you look at those you love, what do you see?

When Issy, young mother and beloved daughter, seemingly kills herself her family is devastated.

Believing she would never leave son Noah willingly, Jon and Mel determine to discover what really happened to Issy. As they and the rest of the family struggle to come to terms with tragedy, Jon and Mel start to realise Issy’s secrets come from a very dark place…

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The Dark Place is a compelling and harrowing novel about the aftermath of someone’s death. If you care for a little warning, there are definitely a few sensitive topics included in this novel, so beware.

When a loved one commits suicide the people left behind invariably want to know why so it’s only natural that Issy’s parents, Jon and Mel, ask themselves that same question. Why would a young girl, mother of a small child, with a promising life ahead of her, willingly kill herself? It was a strange sensation to be a witness to Issy’s last moments, I didn’t want it to happen but I couldn’t divert my eyes either and in the end I think it was necessary to feel the conviction in Issy. If I hadn’t, I could have had doubts myself perhaps but it was clear that Issy didn’t hesitate, there was no doubt in her mind whatsoever. So she must have had a damn good reason was what crossed my mind because that scene was heart-stopping and I thought a lot about it throughout reading the novel. I immediately asked myself what had happened in her past to result in such a drastic act. I couldn’t fathom what it was but wanted to find out why as much as her parents.

Besides a search for answers A Dark Place is also a story of dealing with grief. With their binding factor not longer there to keep them a tight little family, the tragedy makes Jon and Mel’s question their relationship soon enough. Their relationship was already in some muddy waters before so I was eager to find out if this would break them or pull them closer together. Even though Jon and Mel blamed themselves for not seeing what was going on with their daughter, I didn’t judge them for it, not even when I knew all there was to know.

The story is told in dual narratives by Issy’s mother and father. They both deal with their loss in their own way and both POVs were different in their approach; it helped to see it both from an emotional side and a more hands-on side. While Mel gets a lot of support from her sister Pam, Jon is handling it in his own way and he’s on a mission to find out why she did this with a little help from a detective. Throw in an overly present lorry-driver Greg who gave me shivers every time I read about him and I was getting more paranoid by the minute.

After a while there was an idea that was starting to take form in my head about Issy’s reason for taking her own life, even with the author’s attempts to mislead me with a few clever red herrings, so it didn’t come as a complete surprise but I was still unprepared for how hard it was to hear what it was all about.

The Dark Place is a compelling story that definitely takes a dark turn in the end. I also admire the brave decision of the author to handle several difficult topics in this novel.

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Kiss Her Goodbye by Susan Gee #BlogTour #Extract

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Welcome to my turn on the blog tour for Kiss Her Goodbye by Susan Gee. My thanks also to Vicky Joss and publisher Aria for the opportunity to be part of the tour. I think this book sounds amazing and it has a quite intriguing tagline that makes me want to know more.

I have a little taster of this book coming up where DI Beverley Samuels is talking to the mother of a missing schoolgirl, so check it out after reading the blurb here.

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Seventeen year old Hayley Reynolds is unwanted at home, and an outsider at school. Pushed away by her best friend Kirsten Green, she makes a deliberate, chilling decision – if Kirsten can’t belong to her, then she won’t belong to anyone….

DI Beverley Samuels has the body of a schoolgirl on her hands – a murder that brings back the hauntingly painful memories of the case she’s tried so desperately to forget.

There’s something deeply disturbing about this crime – and yet with little hard evidence it’s up to her to decide who she will believe….

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Author

Susan Gee

Susan Gee was a finalist in the Daily Mail Write a Bestseller Competition as well as a finalist in The Good Housekeeping fiction competition. This is her first novel.

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Extract

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DS Beverley Samuels

Kirsten’s mum, Mrs Green, is a small woman with a soft Irish accent. There’s a quiet dignity about her as she waits in her armchair in an olive dress and matching shoes, while we pretend that Kirsten will be home soon. When hope flickers in her eye I have to look away. I know that time is running out and my head is filled with past cases. It’s been a week since Kirsten went missing and the focus of the investigation has changed. I glance at the small ornaments that she has neatly arranged on the shelves in front of me: glass owls, pottery rabbits and other creatures. She is a meticulous woman, a woman who likes things in place, but there’s no way to make sense of this. It doesn’t fit in a neat place on a shelf; it is unthinkable. A waft of cooking comes from the kitchen: a smell of onions and gravy that makes my stomach rumble, but even that seems wrong. The homely smell in a broken place.

‘It’s just not like her, Beverley,’ Mrs Green says, but I already know that. I’ve spoken to her teachers at college and the girls in her form. I’ve built up a picture of Kirsten from everyone who knew her and she wasn’t the type to run off and disappear.

The last sighting we have of her is when she walked out of college in tears. There’s been nothing since. I glance at the clock, wanting this to be over. I’m not just here for her, I’m here for the case and I need to know everything about Kirsten that I can. As I look at Mrs Green I wonder if she had anything to do with her daughter’s disappearance. She offers me cups of tea and my eyes are on her body language and mannerisms whenever I mention Kirsten’s name. I ignore her looks of hopeless desperation as though it’s a mask she’s worn for my benefit, but there’s nothing to suggest that she’s anything other than a worried mother.

‘Any friends that she may have gone to? Relatives? Boyfriends?’

We’ve been through these questions before, but I need to make sure that the answers are the same.

Mrs Green sighs and wipes the underside of her eye with her finger so that she doesn’t smudge her mascara. She keeps herself as ordered as she does her house.

‘She didn’t have any friends. A few from Guides that she kept in touch with.’

‘Anyone she’d confide in? Anyone at all?’

Mrs Green looks towards the window and inhales. Talking to her feels like digging out a splinter, both necessary and painful.

‘She was close to her cousin. They moved down south six months ago.’

‘Do you have a phone number?’

Mrs Green’s eyebrow furrows as she turns to look at me. ‘They know she’s missing. My brother would tell me if she was there.’

‘She may have confided in her cousin about something.’

‘Yes, sorry,’ she replies. ‘I’m just not myself.’

It’s me that should be sorry and I shake my head to dismiss it. She could be at her cousin’s house, but I don’t think she will be.

‘I’ll get the phone book,’ she replies, getting up.

While she’s gone, I look around the room. There’s a framed picture of Kirsten on the mantelpiece. She’s in a field with an old man that may be her granddad and they’re laughing. I imagine that one of her parents took it, but her dad isn’t around any more. He died when she was a baby.

The room is too warm and I glance over at the locked windows. The stuffiness in here, along with smells from the kitchen, makes my head ache. Mrs Green returns with a piece of paper with the phone number on and a photo album.

‘This is the picture of the necklace she was wearing too,’ she says as she sits down and opens the red leather-bound book. As she flicks through the album, she presses her lips together and blinks as though trying not to cry.

‘It’s in here somewhere,’ she says, with a shaking hand.

Mrs Green stops on a page and lifts her index finger as though she’s about to touch the photo and then passes the book to me. ‘You can see it best in this one.’

She gives it to me quickly, as though she doesn’t want to hold it any more. It’s a good photograph and the silver locket is clearly shown. The engraved initials KG in beautiful scroll are edged in ivy leaves.

‘Can I take this?’ I ask.

Mrs Green’s eyes open wide and I can see that she doesn’t want me to have it. She blinks rapidly and holds her hands tightly together.

‘I’ll get it straight back to you,’ I tell her.

‘Yes, of course.’

She winces as I take the photograph out. It comes off the backing in one easy peel and I place the book face up on the coffee table, next to me. Mrs Green’s eyes stay fixed on the photograph in my hand as she closes the book over the now empty space.

‘I gave it to her for her birthday. She never takes it off.’

I hold the photograph by the edges and nod. ‘There’s nothing engraved inside or on the back?’

‘Ivy leaves on the back too and a baby picture inside. From when she was about six months.’ Her voice wavers, but she clears her throat and continues. ‘I don’t know if I have a copy of it. I’ll let you know,’ she says, with her voice back in control, pre-empting me.

‘Right. Thank you. This has been very helpful.’

We sit opposite each other for a minute in silence and I decide not to ask for another look at Kirsten’s room. We’ve been through it before and I’m worried that she’ll break down.

‘Have you looked near the church? She may have gone there if she was scared.’

‘We’ve been there. We’ve checked the embankment by the bridge and the areas on the bus route back from college.’

Her face drops. ‘The embankment? Why?’

‘We need to cover everything.’

Mrs Green stiffens. ‘And did you find anything?’

‘No. You’ll know as soon as we do.’

She stays seated as I stand. Her frame is small and birdlike, but she’s made of stronger stuff than most. Kirsten was a similar build. In her old school photographs she was always sitting near the front, hands on knees, with the taller children behind her, a petite and skinny girl who couldn’t have weighed much.

‘I’ve done her favourite dinner on in case she comes back. Lamb stew with arctic roll for afters.’

I remember the smell of stew cooking from the kitchen the last time I was here. The thought of her making that same dinner over and over makes me nauseous. I wish I were better at comforting people, but I’m not. I prefer facts to emotions and while various replies come into my head I dismiss them all.

‘Did I give you the number for our counsellor the other day?’ I ask, already knowing that I did.

She looks disappointed. ‘I don’t need counselling, Beverley. I just need my daughter back.’

I pick up the photograph from the table.

‘You should try not to be on your own too much. Perhaps have someone to stay so you’ve got company for a few days?’

She nods and doesn’t reply. It’s something that I’ve heard other people say, but I don’t know if it’s the right thing. I imagine that she wouldn’t want anyone else here. I picture her polishing the tiny ornaments as soon as I’ve gone, cleaning the windows as she waits for her daughter to come home.

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Keep Her Silent by Theresa Talbot #BlogTour #QandA

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Welcome to my turn on the blog tour for Keep Her Silent by Theresa Talbot. My thanks also to Vicky Joss and publisher Aria for the opportunity to be part of the tour.

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Ooonagh O’Neil is back with another dark and chilling investigation…

‘Do that which is good and no evil shall touch you’

That was the note the so-called Raphael killer left on each of his victims. Everyone in Glasgow – investigative journalist Oonagh O’Neil included – remember the murder of three women in Glasgow which sent a wave of terror through the city. They also remember that he is still at large…

When the police investigation into the Raphael killings reopens, Oonagh is given a tip off that leads her straight to the heart of a complex and deadly cover-up. When history starts to repeat itself, it seems the killer is closer than she thinks. Could Oonagh be the next target…?

Authentic and gritty, Keep Her Silent is a gripping and page-turning thriller that will leave you breathless. Perfect for fans of Susie Steiner, and Karin Slaughter, Patricia Gibney.

Purchase

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Google Play: http://bit.ly/2u0VxlQ

Author

Theresa TalbotTheresa Talbot is a BBC broadcaster and freelance producer. A former radio news editor, she also hosted The Beechgrove Potting Shed on BBC Radio Scotland, but for many she will be most familiar as the voice of the station’s Traffic & Travel.

Late 2014 saw the publication of her first book, This Is What I Look Like, a humorous memoir covering everything from working with Andy Williams to rescuing chickens and discovering nuns hidden in gardens. She’s much in demand at book festivals, both as an author and as a chairperson.

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QandA

Can you tell me a little bit about this novel? Why do we need to pick this one up?

I could be cheeky and say please pick up & buy Keep Her Silent as my roof leaks & I need new shoes! But seriously, Keep Her Silent has been such a labour of love for me. The second in the Oonagh O’Neil series, there are three strands running through the narrative; a cold case going back to the 1970s when three women were murdered by The Raphael Killer, a women incarcerated in a secure unit for the slaying of her husband and son, and the tainted blood scandal, where thousands of patients were infected with Hep C & HIV through contaminated blood products. The tainted blood scandal has been described as the ‘worst treatment disaster in the history of the NHS’ (Sir Robert Winston) and although Keep Her Silent is a work of fiction, this part of the story is based on real characters and real life events. I’ve worked closely with one of the victims, and his story is one of nightmares. I’m a journalist and although, yes I was aware of the scandal, I had no idea of the actual effect it has had on the victims.

I’m always really fascinated by institutionalised crime, or crime by the establishment, and the fact that few, if any, perpetrators are ever brought to justice. That’s how I feel about the tainted blood scandal. Google it and you’ll be led down a wormhole that beggars belief. I made that the central theme to my book, for me it’s the biggest crime of the 20th century and beyond, yet all committed by the establishment with the backing of the law. Pharmaceutical giants were making millions from these infected blood products, yet they put profit before the suffering of mankind. Threading that through a crime novel seemed natural to me – readers invest in characters and themes in works of fiction that make them sit up and take notice. That said, I was really nervous about the whole thing – I felt such a huge responsibility to everyone affected to get it right. Thankfully, so far, it’s had a very positive response.

This is the second novel in a series. Can it be read as a standalone?

Yes, it can be read as a standalone, but there are obviously references to ‘The Lost Children’, and my characters behave in certain ways because of their past and their experiences. One of my pet hates in any work of fiction (especially soaps) is that something awful, wonderful or earth shattering can happen to a character. They’re then the central storyline for six weeks before it moves on to another plotline and their experience is hardly mentioned. I’ve tried to develop my characters, make them real flesh & blood human beings. They change and grow as time moves on. One of my characters, Tom, has undergone (on the surface) quite a dramatic change, but I felt that that was right thing to do. He’d made a decision in the last book to change his life and follow it through. I’ve got a whole lot of respect for Tom..then I realise he’s not real and I made him up! So although it’s not necessary to read The Lost Children first, it may explain some of the character traits and background, but I was careful to ensure that readers who pick up this as their first taste of my novels won’t be left scratching their heads… unless they just happen to have a random itch!

Who is one of your favourite detectives and why?

No contest, Inspector Salvo Montalbano. Written by Andrea Camilleri, the stories are set in Sicily. He’s decent, honest & hard working … just like all good Sicilian Detectives (!) and operates in a rather murky world – there’s loads of humour too. I watch Young Montalbano on DVD to drool over the scenery and practice my Italian. He’s my favourite this week as I’m heading off to Italy soon – in a few months time when I’m stuck indoors and the rain is battering off my window it might be John Shaft again!

What is your favourite method of murder?

I just read an online post saying a Tupperware lid would be the best ever murder weapon as no-one would ever be able to find it again! I’m wracking my brains here trying to think what my ‘favourite’ method is… I have to say, an old episode of ‘Tales of The Unexpected’ keeps coming back to mind. ‘Lambs to The Slaughter’ was an adaptation of a 1953 short story by Roald Dahl. Mary Marney – played by Susan George – whacks her husband over the head with a frozen leg of lamb when he announces that he’s leaving her. She calls the police, claiming it was an intruder, and subsequently feeds the murder weapon to the detective who’s all smitten with her. It’s hilarious – and black too. I’m not sure I’d need to go to all that trouble if I wanted to kill someone – I’d just cook the lamb and watch them slowly lose the will to live as they chewed endlessly on a piece of gristle.

What are you reading right now?

I have far too many books on my TBR pile, and I need to be honest I’ve had to take a break from reading as I had so much writing to do it was interfering with my brain! But I’ve just started The Janus Run by Douglas Skelton (I have a review copy – on the shelves by the time you read this) and I have to say this is one bloody great read!

What’s on the cards in the future?

Book 3 in the Ooagh O’Neil series in now underway (if my agent or publisher is reading this then it’s finished and at the final edit stage!) I’ve grown so fond of Oonagh, she’s flawed and troubled and sometimes gets it wrong – but she’ll fight with her last breath to stick up for the underdog. I’m giving Jim McVeigh (detective) a bit more to say and do in this book too.

Thank you Theresa for answering the questions and having me on the blog tour!

Thank you for having me – it’s been such a pleasure xx

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Before Her Eyes by Jack Jordan #BlogTour #Guestpost

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Welcome to my turn on the blog tour for Before Her Eyes by Jack Jordan. Sincere thanks also to Kirsty Doole of Corvus Books for the opportunity to be part of the tour. I have already read and reviewed both of the novels Jack Jordan wrote this year so I’m sharing an amazing guestpost with you all today that is very touching but first and foremost let’s start with the book itself:

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She can’t see the killer But the killer can see her…

Naomi Hannah has been blind since birth. Struggling with living in a small, claustrophobic town, Naomi contemplates ending her life. But then she stumbles across the body of a young woman who has been brutally murdered. She senses someone else there at the scene – watching her. Naomi may not be able to see the killer’s face, but she is still the only person who can identify him.

As the police begin hunting the person responsible and more victims are discovered, Naomi is forced to answer the question on which her fate hangs: why did the killer let her live?

In a town this small, the murderer must be close, perhaps even before her very eyes…

Click the links below for my book reviews on all of his books so far :

A Woman Scorned and Before Her Eyes, My Girl and Anything For Her.

Purchase

Before Her Eyes is available in paperback and ebook (audio coming soon) from Waterstones, WHSmith Travel, Waitrose, and all good bookshops and online outlets, including all major e-retailers

amazon uk  and links to Anything for Her, My Girl, A Woman Scorned.

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Guestpost

Agoraphobia kept me prisoner, but ultimately set me free 

Most authors will tell you that they have wanted to be writers ever since they can remember, and have always imagined they would have their own stories on the shelves one day. My start, however, was a little different.

            I loved reading and writing as a child. English was one of my favourite subjects in school. I beamed whenever I had the opportunity to exercise creative writing in class and I’ve always loved reading, even if a little out of my age range (I was once told a book was too mature to bring to school… I can’t even remember what it was. All I knew was: it was a book and I was going to read it). But I never remember thinking that my love of reading and writing meant that I could have a book on the shelf too. I never thought that someone like me, a working class kid, could achieve something so monumental. I had put limitations upon myself from the very beginning: I wouldn’t even allow the idea of writing a book, let alone getting it published, to enter my mind, which stayed that way until one day, many years later, my dream finally clicked… but not without struggles along the way.

            Cut to me, aged seventeen. After moving four hours away from home in a wild, rebellious rush, I returned home utterly broken from a traumatic experience. I came home to feel safe, with no idea that the very same home I craved would become my prison for over a year.

            Anxiety is a powerful, intelligent thing. I’ve had it my entire life. Separation anxiety plagued every goodbye. Sunday nights were hell in my house, as my anxiety exploded from having to face another week of school. But even a lifetime of anxiety could not have prepared me for the debilitating power of agoraphobia and PTSD.

            Overnight, I became a recluse. I existed entirely behind closed doors. I gave windows a wide berth to avoid being seen, flinching whenever someone walked by. I shut myself away if there were visitors in the house, and lost all sense of night and day, sleeping in the day and living at night, which made me feel like I was the only person awake in the entire world, a unique breed of loneliness that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. My anxiety was triggered by everything and anything, however irrational they seemed. And then it got so bad that I couldn’t even leave my bedroom.

            I remember when this happened: I had walked down the stairs at the exact same moment the postman delivered our mail, and the shock of it brought on a horrendous panic attack. I collapsed on the stairs and stayed there, hyperventilating with my eyes on the glass in the door, too terrified to move. I stayed there for an hour. Just like that, I was confined to my bedroom, too scared to even look out of my own window.

            One morning, after another sleepless night, I lay in bed filled with unspent energy. Hiding away day and night takes very little physical exertion, and deprives a person of mental stimulation. The energy builds and builds and builds like traffic, and with nowhere to go, it ends up fuelling the anxiety, the very thing that was keeping me hidden in the first place – a never-ending cycle that I felt helpless to stop. So as the sun rose, I wrote a short story to pass the time. It was only a thousand words or so, written in the notes app on my Blackberry. I didn’t think anything of it, it was just something I did for fun, just another idea that had presented itself inside my mind that I had no idea what to do with or felt I had the right to act on. It was just to help me fall asleep.

            Except… when I woke up, I wrote another chapter. And another. And another. I had no idea that I was writing a book, only that I was creating characters who could exist outside of my prison. I was getting the stimulation I craved and a way out of my hell, even if my escape was only imaginary.

            For six months, I lived vicariously through my characters, escaping the confines of my home using my mind, my characters, the power of words, until one day I looked down and realised I had written a novel of one hundred thousand words. Without realising, I had fulfilled the dream I had never allowed myself to fathom. The second I wrote ‘The End’, I knew I was a writer, and that deep down, I had known all along.

            Writing ‘The End’ was only the beginning, but it unlocked a truth from within me, a realisation that might never have occurred, had it not been for my anxiety: I’m a writer. I always have been. All of those ideas that had plagued my mind for years not only had a way of being released, but they had a purpose.

            You’re not reading the words of a university graduate. I never even went to college. I dropped out of school at fourteen because of depression and anxiety (growing up attracted to the same sex is VERY fun, by the way). You’re reading the words of an author whose lifeline was the written word. As my peers moved around the country to study, I taught myself grammar, spelling, punctuation, how to format a novel, how to structure a story, how the whole publishing thing worked, all from the confines of my bedroom. I spent day and night making my dream a reality, and slowly put myself back together again through years of therapy and exposure. Five years later, I went on to publish my debut novel Anything for Her, followed by my second, My Girl, the year after. The two titles sold over one hundred thousand copies.

            So now, at twenty-five, as I prepare myself for the release of my traditional debut, Before Her Eyes, I look back with complete admiration for who I was at seventeen, and for all the strength it took to face and trust the world again, not only as a person, but as a writer, with my past and pain strewn over the pages of my books and dozens of rejections to my name.

Eight years have passed, but I will never forget how I started, and will always feel the same pride, the same overwhelming confirmation that being a writer is who I am, every time I write ‘The End’.

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Before Her Eyes (Blog Tour)

Entrapped by Claire Ayres #BlogTour #Extract

BlogTour Entrapped

It’s a pleasure to welcome you all to the first stop on the blog tour for Entrapped by Claire Ayres! My thanks to Jenny of Neverland Blog Tours for the invitation to join and for providing the excerpt I’ll be sharing with you today. A very special thank you as well for all your patience, dedication and in short, being such a wonderful tour organiser, it was great to sign up for tours with you. Now let’s kick off this last book tour!

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Cellist Luka has moved to Bristol to start a new job and recover from the betrayal of finding his best friend and his girlfriend in bed together. He doesn’t plan on the emotional thunderstorm that meeting his next-door neighbour Jess causes. Jess had everything, a man she loved, friends she adored and then the world crashed around her. Depression came from nowhere and slowly started ripping her life away. Now she lives a lonely, sad life but the music which she keeps hearing next door is waking her up and she doesn’t know why. Join Luka and Jess as they discover life after heartache, how to forgive and how to live and love again.

*Entrapped is an 18+ Contemporary Romance with several graphic sex scenes*

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Author

Claire Ayres

Claire lives in Bristol, UK and has taken her inspiration from the people and the places she has seen over the years. She always has a book close at hand and devours Fantasy and Romance like some devour chocolate! Claire loves a happily ever after followed by lots of bloody sword-fighting and dangerous dragons! But when writing her debut novel Entrapped drew on her childhood ambition to be a musician and one of the instruments she played and still loves as a centre-point. Claire is also a passionate mental health advocate who lives with bipolar disorder and has done regular radio interviews and even some TV. She is also a huge heavy metal fan and can regularly be found banging her head at a concert or festival.

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Extract

“I went to the doctor.” He squeezes her hand, kisses the corner of my mouth. Jess continues: “She says it’s depression, why I’ve been so off my game, not myself.”

His fingers tense across Jess’ lap and arm where they were previously casually placed, they get so tight she whines and pulls away, feeling the ache of a bruise that has yet to come out. His jaw is clenched, his eyes are tightened to slits. It’s OK though, Jess thinks, she knew this would be a difficult conversation for him, they will work through it together though. She rushes on, needing to reassure him, show him they will be fine.

“I have tablets, they will take a little while to work but then I will be back to myself, it will all be OK.”

Jess squeezes out a smile and runs her hand across his cheek, trying to show him the proof of her words. After a long pause he finally speaks: “What do you mean a little while to work?”

“The doctor said 4-6 weeks,” she responds, stroking his hair.

“Are you having a laugh?” He’s laughing, this is not a funny laugh though, there is absolutely nothing funny about Ade right now from the look on his face to his body language or the way he is touching her. “Jessica, you know what I went through growing up, that I can’t put myself through that again.” He sighs. “I thought this was a passing phase.”

Jess looks at him, holding the tears back in her eyes, determined not to cry. What is he getting at?

“Ade, I’m not your Mum, I’m going to be OK, things will go back to normal,” she pleads.

Ade grew up in an unhappy and abusive home, at the centre of that his Mum had depression. She was also an alcoholic, as a result he doesn’t separate everything very well which is understandable.

“Things won’t be normal, will they? I’ll have another month of all this bullshit? Do you know what it’s been like living with you detached from me for months now?” Jess shrinks back, shaking her head, afraid to speak. “It’s awful and it’s miserable. And sex, well I can swing from the chandelier for that, can’t I?”

Jess gapes, she doesn’t know what to say, he’s getting angrier with every word he says. He violently shoves her back onto the couch and away from him, no longer wanting her on his lap and she knows she is collecting more than bruises today. Bouncing on the leather seat as she lands, she automatically grabs for the cushion she has come to use as a protective blanket and clutches it desperately. Something is seriously wrong here and she can’t hold back the big, ugly, tears because she doesn’t know what else to do.

“I’ve loved you since day one, Jess, and you couldn’t stay well for me? That’s all I wanted from you – for you to love me back and to stay well and happy. Why was that too hard?”

Jess stares in stunned silence and tries to respond, as he storms around pacing the floor in front of her.

“Ade? Please. Stop. Why do you think I did this on purpose, Ade? Do you think I want to feel like this? I miss you so much and I hate that I’m hurting you, it’s killing me. I would do anything to not be hurting you.” She wishes he could see that. She wishes he could see how much she loves him, how hard this is. He stops pacing, stands right in front of her, his hands clenched into fists, tears in his eyes.

“I can’t be around someone with such negative energy. We’re over, Jessica.”

An unnatural wail comes is pulled from Jess as she doubles over, struggling to breathe, her heart shattering as his words sink in. He goes to the bedroom and she listens to him opening and closing the cupboards as he packs his belongings. She doesn’t know what to do except sit there and watch as what little remains of her heart walks out the door with the man she loves.

Hands up who also dislikes Ade :-). You’ll have to read the novel to see Jess find the happiness and love she deserves !

Do No Harm by L V Hay #BlogTour #BookReview

Do No Harm def

Welcome to my turn on the blog tour for Do No Harm by L V Hay. Sincere thanks also to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours and Orenda Books for the opportunity to be part of the tour.

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Till death do us part…

After leaving her marriage to jealous, possessive oncologist Maxwell, Lily and her six-year-old son have a second chance at happiness with headteacher Sebastian. Kind but vulnerable, Sebastian is the polar opposite of Maxwell, and the perfect match for Lily. After a whirlwind romance, they marry, and that’s when things start to go wrong…

Maxwell returns to the scene, determined to win back his family, and events soon spiral out of control. Lily and Sebastian find themselves not only fighting for their relationship, but also their lives…

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Author

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Lucy V. Hay is a novelist, script editor and blogger who helps writers via her Bang2write consultancy. She is the associate producer of Brit Thrillers Deviation (2012) and Assassin(2015), both starring Danny Dyer. Lucy is also head reader for the London Screenwriters’ Festival and has written two non-fiction books, Writing & Selling Thriller Screenplays, plus its follow-up Drama Screenplays. Her critically acclaimed debut thriller The Other Twin was published in 2017.

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Website: https://linktr.ee/lucyvhayauthor

Facebook: Lucy V Hay Author

Twitter: @LucyVHayAuthor

Instagram: Lucy V Hay Author

review-2

I wanted to read this novel as soon as I saw the cover. Doesn’t it look great and doesn’t it sound menacing? You already expect the exact opposite when you read such an imperative.

This novel was so freaking develish! Do No Harm is a wonderful addictive story about someone’s obsession and the unwillingness of letting go. Obsession and revenge are the best ingredients in any book plot so I was very pleased this novel centers all around these two promising words :-).

It’s obvious that Maxwell, Lily’s ex-husband, can’t get over the fact that they’re not together anymore and that she’s marrying another man, not even a year after they seperated. When strange events start to occur everything points to Maxwell, but the question remains: is he the culprit?

Do No Harm concentrates on 5 characters – if you leave little 6-year old Denny, the sixth main character of the novel, aside – and each character is even more dubious than the next. Do any of them have anything to do with what is happening in Lily and Sebastian’s life? There’s nothing I can share about the plot of this novel, except that it includes a string of red herrings that you’ll walk into with open eyes.

Do No Harm was an exciting and addictive novel to read and L V Hay did a magnificent job with all the characters she created, I couldn’t rely on anyone being honest. An engrossing read that you won’t want to put down!

*** Don’t forget to check out the other blog stops on the tour ***

DO NO HARM BLOG TOUR